On a day when we were promised rain, the Phillies delivered.
The series was not lost, the Phillies hit for their largest margin of victory for the season, and they hit three home runs at home for the first time in 2016. It was a day of such miraculous revelry that everyone forgot that the Cubs are coming through tomorrow.
Nevertheless! Thunderstorms gathered in the atmosphere and began streaking toward Citizens Bank Park, giving the teams precious little time to wrap this four-game series up Sunday afternoon. It was Aaron Nola on the mound for the Phillies, and he put the screws to the Brew-Crew early, butchering his way through the Milwaukee lineup. In the first inning, after a walk and a single, he slashed through the next three hitters and struck out the side. They would be the opening trilogy of a day in which he'd get nine Brewers at the plate, and keep them 0-for-10 with RISP and only two walks.
But yeah, yeah; the good stuff. I know what you want.
Maikel Franco just happened. That guy... #Brewers killer.— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) June 5, 2016
Don't forget, this was Franco's second home run of this series, after hitting three against the Brewers in Milwaukee. He's their boogeyman.
I like Jimmy Paredes now pic.twitter.com/7qf5tVCnUE— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) June 5, 2016
Collectively, these three and their home runs were responsible for five of the Phillies' eight runs on the day. Prior to Paredes' shot, Tommy Joseph smeared a baseball against the outfield wall that, had a fan not jostled with it, might have given the Phillies back-to-back-to-back home runs, Utley-Howard-Burrell style.
Odubel Herrera had four hits and a stolen base, something that may get glossed over given that he wasn't the only one hitting today; Cesar Hernandez tripled in Cody Asche in the fourth, getting a run in between Franco's homer and Joseph's almost-homer; and Freddy Galvis had an RBI ground-out in the first that wasn't the entirety of the offense like everyone thought it would be at the time.
With a huge lead late in a game, the Phillies grew confused and disoriented. What happens now, they wondered. Is this okay. Are we in trouble.
Things were left in the hands of the bullpen, and with an eight-run cushion, even the relievers' recent slippage wasn't enough to tank this win. Colton Murray pitched a mostly empty seventh, and while Elvis Araujo struck out two hitters in the eighth, he just couldn't keep the shut-out intact and allowed an RBI single to Ramon Flores.
Eyes turned to the skies as the wind picked up and storm clouds arrived from the southwest, their intentions far from pure. Everyone hoped the umpires would not have to review anything and extend the game's length by ten or fifteen minutes while the chimp in a headset in New York hits a red or blue button at the MLB Advanced Media desk (Joseph's fan interference-ridden double had for some reason required an over three-minute review).
Fortunately, none of that happened (again). David Hernandez poked his head out of the bullpen for the ninth and managed to get three outs around an Aaron Hill single.
An 8-1 victory. 8-1! It's wins like these that stir talk of the team finding a rhythm, or hitting their stride, or all getting hot together. We have seen more pop from these guys lately, and if they are indeed attempting to put out some kind of offense, they are picking the right time as the Cubs land tomorrow and will presumably be homering the second they step off the plane.